Dr. Martin Graf has been practicing internal medicine since 1964. He
began attending college at Alfred University after graduating high
school at 16. From there, he attended Wake Forest Medical School in
North Carolina, where he finished his medical boards with the highest
Though he hadn’t needed to study to pass his boards, when Dr. Graf
started seeing patients, as an intern and then a resident, “I wanted to
know everything. I wanted to help solve all the problems that were being
brought to me. I read and read and read. ”
Dr. Graf attended the University of Chicago for his medical residency.
The only resident not from an Ivy League school, he was named Chief
Resident in his last year. He also did a fellowship in allergy and
immunology at NYU, as well as two years in the military at Bethesda
Naval Hospital. “My real strength is patient care, though. And that is
what I have been doing for the past 47 years.”
Dr. Graf met his wife, Judith, during his fellowship. “I feel G-d guided
me to meet her. My parents found a studio apartment for me near NYU. A
few weeks before I was to move in, the sitting tenants decided to stay.
There was another apartment available in the same building. Judith was
my next door neighbor but our paths never crossed. And then, one day,
both of our apartments got flooded, and we went into the hallway, which
is where we met.
“I was raised in a home where my mother was agnostic and my father
didn’t attend synagogue. I did not go to a synagogue after my Bar Mitzva
until we had a son and wanted him to go to Hebrew school.
“”While at the synagogue, there was an assistant rabbi who gave me a
copy of a debate between Dennis Praeger and Howard Kushner on why bad
things happen to good people. I was so impressed with Mr. Praeger’s
arguments that I began listening to his tapes. He then did the
monumental task of teaching Torah for the next 18 years. I anxiously
awaited my four tapes each month
“Six years ago I got in touch with Rabbi Yehudah Shurpin from
Chabad.org’s ‘Ask the Rabbi.’ Rabbi Shurpin recommended I attend a JLI
class (myjli.com) at my local Chabad. When I attended my first class at
Chabad of Potomac, seeing a rabbi with a black hat and beard was as
strange for me as seeing someone from an African tribe. Rabbi Mendel
Bluming has been an excellent teacher, spiritual leader, and good
friend. Since then, I have continued my studies with Rabbi Bluming and
as well with Isser Charter, my mentor at JNET (jnet.org).”
Dr. Graf contacted us to share with our readers stories of how he sees
G-d’s guidance in his medical practice. A few of those stories follow:
Soon after I went into practice, I had a new patient come into my
office. She was 75 years old and I greeted her by saying “Welcome Nan
She immediately told me “Sonny boy, my name is Mrs. Charles Fox and if
you want to see me again you will refer to me as such.” I noted that in
After I finished the history in my consultation room and physical exam
in the examining room I told her my nurse would come in to help me with
an additional exam. She said, “Sonny boy, no one examines me there.”
I noted in the chart that she refuses the exam and not to ask her ever
again. She came in yearly for her complete physical and on the 10th year
after completing her exam, for some inexplicable reason I said, “Mrs.
Fox. How about me doing the exam this year?” To my astonishment she
agreed. I found an early cancer, she was operated on and cured.
A few years later I received a phone call at midnight from the husband
of a patient of mine who was in Hawaii. She had always enjoyed excellent
health but that day had suddenly lapsed into a coma. All her lab tests
were normal and they were preparing to do an exploratory operation on
her brain to try to find out what had happened to her.
We didn’t yet have Cat Scans or MRI’s. I asked him if she had had a
urinary tract infection and he said “yes.” Was she taking Cipro? “Yes” I
told him to stop the Cipro and she would wake up. She stopped it and
returned to normal health. To the best of my knowledge, coma due to
Cipro is either exceedingly rare or has never been reported. My
diagnosis was not humanly possible. It was then that I realized G-d was
using me to help others.
A few years later, my brother had an appointment with me. On performing
a routine medical exam, I felt something that seemed abnormal to me.
Although his blood test returned normal, I felt compelled to send him to
a specialist. The specialist called me to tell me that he thought
everything was normal. I told him about my concerns. He said if I
insisted he would do a biopsy. The biopsy came back as cancer. I sent
him to Dr. Patrick Walsh, the famous urologist at Johns Hopkins who
invented the nerve sparing operation for cancer of the prostate. Dr
Walsh told my brother that this was the smallest cancer of the prostate
he had ever treated! I was so grateful to G-d as my brother and I are
I can cite dozens more instances where G-d has used me to help people,
but I will end with one where G-d used my stupidity to help another
patient. Mr. Pflum had a complete physical exam scheduled. Unfortunately
that morning I had two emergency patients come in who both needed to be
When I finally called my first scheduled patient in, I was 1 1/2 hours
late and for the first and only time, I brought him directly to the exam
room without doing my usual history. I didn’t even review his chart.
Everything appeared to be normal and my nurse did an EKG because he had
mild hypertension. The EKG was wildly abnormal so I looked at his chart
to see what his last EKG showed. It was then that I realized I had done
a complete history and physical on him just three months ago and his EKG
then was completely normal.
If I had reviewed the chart in advance as I always do, I would not have
repeated the EKG. I referred him to a cardiologist and he had a 99%
blockage of the main coronary artery. He was operated on and cured. I
told this story to my son who is an outstanding emergency room doctor
and he said, “Dad, you’re just a good doctor.” I told him that I am
neither a good or bad doctor; if you study Torah and allow G-d to come
into your life you may be as fortunate as I have been. I frequently get
praise and thanks from my patients, but I always tell them not to thank
me; I am only the conduit, thank G-d.
Click here for the link: http://www.lchaimweekly.org/lchaim/5777/1446.htm
Posted by Menachem M Bluming